Man with cocaine-filled chicken busted at Dulles

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken a la cocaine?

Federal officials said Friday that was on the menu after a man tried to pass through customs at Dulles International Airport last week carrying a fully cooked chicken. It turned out the bird was stuffed with the drugs, they said.

"It's the Thanksgiving holiday, and this guy is bringing in a chicken. You'd expect a turkey," said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Officers grew suspicious. They unwrapped the aluminum foil surrounding the bird, pulling apart legs and wings, dark meat and white. Inside the chicken's cavity, they found two small, clear plastic bags, Sapp said.

They were filled with a white powdery substance. It wasn't stuffing.

The substance tested positive for cocaine -- 2.3 ounces worth, with an estimated street value of $4,300, Sapp said. The Guatemalan, Wagner Mauricio Linares Aragon, who had arrived on a flight from El Salvador on Nov. 28, was arrested and has been charged in Loudoun County, officials said.

It's not the first time fliers have tried to play chicken with officers at the airport. Last year, Sapp said, a traveler from El Salvador was caught with what appeared to be seven boxes of chicken soup mix. The bags contained seven kilograms of cocaine.

"People try all different imaginative ways to conceal narcotics inside something else, and it's up to the officers to have really keen instincts in searching for things," Sapp said.

But this might have been the most innovative. "I've been on the job for more than two years here, and this is the first time I've seen a chicken stuffed with cocaine," he added.

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